Last week seems like ancient history already. Before my memory deteriorates any worse than it has already, here’s the finale of our vacation diaries.
Remember the ancient days of the 1990’s (or the medieval years even before) when the operation of cameras involved loading film, rotating a knob to latch the film into place, clicking a button, finishing the film, removing the film, and praying when you retrieved the photos from CVS about three weeks after your shoot, that the one shot you took while standing at the Eiffel Tower, Fenway Park, or Millis Hall came out well? A given roll of 36 could include shots from Christmas, New Year’s, and a random trip to Colby or UNH in February when you road-tripped with a bunch of friends using an actual atlas or directions written down on a napkin during a “house phone” conversation. There was no “upload to Facebook” option available with click of the button.
How did we exist as an image capturing society before digital cameras and cell phones with delete buttons conveniently located for that unflattering photo of a double chin, or the “eyes were closed” shot? Not only did women dare to pose for pictures back then without doing that awkward one leg in front of the other thing that anyone on Us Weekly does, but many of them didn’t even wax their eye brows (which is most likely why you don’t see many of the shots capturing the au naturel caterpillar look popular circa pre-1997), but that’s another story for another day.
Back in my day (imagine me saying this in Grandpa Simpson’s voice,) photographs of multiple, obnoxiously-sized penises drawn in black marker on the face of a buddy who passed out in a place not called his bed may never have developed because the film’s negative accidentally ran through the laundry, as opposed to today when said photograph would sandbag said buddy from ever running for political office because it was on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube within four seconds of the shot, easily becoming accessible during a simple Google image or video search.
Where the hell am I going with this? Oh yeah, photography. Back to the Hall of Justice…
Photographic footage of Griswald Vacation 2011 is minimally available because THE WIFE realized she forgot to pack our camera and I refused to turn around when she discovered it six minutes after leaving the house because it was: a) non-essential; and b) a hindrance to making good time on our drive north. Needless to say, my executive decision to keep going and not turn around after the discovery made for a “frosty” first half-hour of the drive on 24-North and even onto 93-North. The decision also led to photographs from our cell phones with unimpressive resolution, as well as videos that will most likely never be seen from anywhere other than the phones themselves because THE WIFE and I are so minimally skilled in these types of computer endeavors.
As for Vacation Day V, it went like this: departure of the Zillas, beach, naps, and dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Café Noche. The restaurant was great for families but see the Day 4 post for my fears about family trips to restaurants. Gigi was pretty well behaved but the G-Man was wiggling around as soon as we sat down. I plowed through my Margarita and food, then restrained Gus in a half-nelson while waiting for THE WIFE and Greta to finish.
Fortunately, the night was salvaged with an ice cream trek to a really cute 50’s-style ice cream soda shop and diner in Albany, NH. Our waitress wore a poodle skirt, which Gigi loved. The waitress asked if we had a dog. I said no, but we had a fish, and Greta said his name is “Fishy Teravainen.” I beamed with paternal pride while the waitress had no idea what Gigi just said.
Fortunately, our ice cream order was easy to understand. THE WIFE and G-man split a black raspberry fro-yo, while Greta unabashedly double dipped between my peanut butter cup frappe and her raspberry swirl kiddie cup. To put an exclamation point on the night, Gus spit up all over the front of my shirt before we left. Of course, I didn’t notice until after I spoke to the owner for a good five minutes. I’d say that was a successful night.
Prior to this day in the history of the T-family either as a unit of 3 or 4, there were many occasions when I wanted to get on the road at the crack of dawn. However, THE WIFE always vehemently rejected such suggestions – to the point that she might as well have hissed and spit at me when I proposed that we feed the kids in the car while we drove. But on Day 6 of vacation 2011, the situation was somehow different because we were heading to Santa’s Village. That day, THE WIFE wanted to make “good time” for the first and only occasion I’ve ever known her. She was actually planning to leave with the kids in pajamas, and feed them breakfast in the car. Unprecedented.
As we prepared, THE WIFE reported an ominous forecast for the day: temps in the 90’s and high heat. She was already stressing about the kids becoming dehydrated. Meanwhile, it was 58 degrees in Madison. We proceeded to pack all sorts of sun block, bathing suits, towels, and warm weather gear, in addition to the 47 other bags full of “necessities” for a standard day trip.
The drive from Madison to Jefferson was scenic and beautiful, not that Gigi observed it because she watched endless episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba! on the portable DVD player. But it kept her quiet. We arrived by 10:15 a.m. A personal best for THE WIFE: only 45 minutes after we originally planned on being there!
The weather upon our arrival was overcast, breezy, and about 62 degrees. Good thing we packed towels for the water park because we were able to use them as blankets for the kids.
Undeterred by the elements, and encouraged that Greta didn’t puke once we got in the parking lot, we headed towards the entrance. We of course picked the line where some dude’s credit card was denied five times as dozens of families in lines around us blew past as if in an Easy Pass lane. Classic moosh.
Finally, we made it through. Greta declared that she was ready to sit on Santa’s lap (last year didn’t go very smoothly.) We headed for the token St. Nick photo shoot location immediately while Greta’s courage remained high. As we waited, a cookachoo (our code word for weirdos) family started chatting us up about their neighbors’ Christmas lights display this past winter. Cookachoo Dad was killing it with a solid Kenny G perm, a Tom Brady jersey (of course he was a Pats fan,) and the left-ear-only earring dangling multiple inches from the lobe. (Yeah I’m going to hell, I know.)
After the Cookachoos shot the breeze with Santa for a half-hour after their family pic, we finally got our turn. Naturally, Greta refused even to look in Santa’s direction when we were all in the same room. As we approached Santa, she clung to me for dear life but eventually relented and sat on THE WIFE’S lap to pose for the requisite picture. Gus-man, meanwhile, was ready to dive head-first into Santa’s beard. Somehow, we pulled off the pic without any casualties to Santa or the kids.
From there, we did the rides, the unhealthy food, the waiting in lines, etc. Greta went on the Rudolph Merry-go-round about four times. Fortunately, the kids didn’t become either sunburned or dehydrated.
We also got to cross paths with my buddy Bones (another Westland manor alumnus,) his wife Mrs. Batch, and their three sweet kids, who just coincidentally decided to take a family trip on the same day we were there. They were gracious enough to invite us back to where they were staying, so we got to relax, drink a few beers or juice boxes, and shoot the breeze.
Another successful day.
The final day has arrived. For the record, we will miss the Dunkin’s we’ve patronized during the course of our stay. They are batting about .993 on our orders, which is no small feat with THE WIFE’s scrutiny of her “extra skim” portion of her iced coffee order.
Gigi and I headed down to the beach for a brief final visit while Gus-man catches his morning siesta. The kids there already were not playing Marco Polo. They were playing Marco Scutaro. (You gotta love New England.)
After some swimming, playing, and a final survey of the frogs, Gigi was ready to go. We went back to the house for lunch and the final pack up. No one was in a rush to go home. I think that means we had a great time as a family. Mission accomplished.
[Special thanks to Pep for making our family excursion possible. So, um, is your place available again next summer? Just curious.]